COVID-19 Fears Postpone Spring Abroad Programs

by The Cowl Editor


Campus


Global studies is hopeful to resume abroad programs in Fall 2021. Photo courtesy of global-Studies.providence.edu.

by Hannah Langley ’21

News Co-Editor

For many college students, traveling abroad for a semester or two is an exciting and memorable opportunity. However, because of the COVID-19 pandemic, study abroad programs across the country had to be canceled or postponed.

On Sept. 18, Providence College’s global education department announced their executive decision to suspend study abroad programs for spring 2021. The decision was made by a task force composed of PC students, faculty, and administrators.

Christian Wilwohl, dean of global education, said multiple factors went into the decision to suspend the programs so far in advance. These factors included the high level of uncertainty related to the COVID-19 pandemic, adherence to Department of State and CDC guidelines, delays in passport and visa processing, and potential host country conditions and restrictions affecting the studying experience.

Another consideration was the fact that students would have to make non-refundable payments for necessities such as flights, passports, program deposits, and more.

Grace Cleary, assistant dean of global education, stated that while these were all large factors in making this decision, “Our decision was rooted in our obligation to look out for student health and safety.” Overall, issues involving students and different CDC regulations in every country could create potential problems.

“If a student were to experience a medical issue abroad,” said Cleary, “new hospital regulations could prevent local support staff from accompanying him or her to assist with translation and insurance paperwork and provide pastoral support. Students arriving in-country would face quarantines and in some cases, lock-down conditions.”
Although students are upset about their semester abroad being canceled, many also understand the necessity for this decision. Cassie Mirasolo ’22, an economics major with a Spanish minor, was planning on doing an international business and culture program in Seville, Spain this upcoming spring. “Honestly, I’m not surprised it was canceled considering the current circumstances, but I’m very sad about it,” said Mirasolo. “I was looking forward to practicing my Spanish and experiencing a Spanish lifestyle.”

She continued, saying that although she feels like she is missing out on a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, she knows we are living in unprecedented times. “I know a lot of people talk about their time abroad as one of the best times of their lives, which makes it all that harder. It’s something I was lucky to get the opportunity to sign up for through PC, but I guess we have to make the best of these crazy times!”

While abroad this spring is no longer an option, Cleary is still hopeful for abroad programs in the future.
“Study abroad has become such an important part of the PC experience and the Center for Global Education staff is ready to assist students who are planning for fall 2021 and beyond.”

For those interested in studying abroad in the future, the study abroad fair will be held virtually on Oct. 5. All freshmen, sophomores, and juniors who want to go abroad in fall 2021 are encouraged to attend for more information.

What to Know Before You Go: Tips for PC Students Who Want to Go Abroad

by The Cowl Editor


Campus


Study abroad students can be seen posing in their favorite PC gear around the world. Photo courtesy of Kyle Fitzsimons ’18.

by Sienna Strickland ’22

News Staff

It’s official: abroad season is upon us. Providence College has given applicants the green light. Students are saving up their money and they are applying to their programs. They are consulting with advisors and other adults in their lives, asking for helpful advice and recommendation letters. They are also, and perhaps rightfully so, panicking. 

Getting approval from the College is only the beginning; there is still much left to be done for those planning to go abroad next year, and deadlines are slowly but surely inching closer and closer. People are asking: “How can I afford this?” “Will my credits transfer?” “How will I live?” “Will I be safe?” amongst many other inquiries. Who can they turn to for help?

Dean Joe Stanley and Assistant Dean Grace Cleary are a place to start for students in search of these answers. Working for the College’s Center for Global Education, they get students coming in and asking these questions every day. 

 “A common concern students have regarding going abroad is paying for it,” Stanley says. “Students have the option to try applying for aid from our Santander Bank. It is our corporate partner on campus, who allocates funds to help students abroad cover their costs.” 

Cleary adds her own advice, and it is positive news for students who receive financial aid packages: “When going abroad, you are charged PC tuition, meaning that your PC financial aid package is also carried over. For example, if you receive a Pell Grant here, you will receive it abroad, and some providers, like SIT [the School for International Training] will give you extra funding on top of that.”

What if you wanted to switch studies? Cleary generally discourages students from doing so this late in the process, saying: “At this point, we generally advise against students switching their chosen abroad program, unless there is an appropriate reason, such as them declaring a new major or dropping an old one. One reason for this is that the visa application process can be lengthy, and we want students to have ample time to complete it.” 

Andrew Balmer ‘20, talks about his application process, and how getting a visa was the most difficult part for him. “The application process through the school was actually pretty straightforward. My grades were good and I had no disciplinary issues. The difficulty for me was then applying for a student visa for Austria. I had to have multiple copies of a lot of different forms, along with bank statements from my parents since they would be the ones supporting me while I was in Austria, and my passport and birth certificate. I had to take all of these documents to the Austrian consulate in New York. I turned over everything I had and then crossed my fingers. Two weeks later my passport came in the mail with the visa document glued onto one of the pages.” 

Dean Stanley gives another reason against switching late in the process, saying, “If students are seeking to re-apply to one of our flagship programs, we cannot guarantee them room. There is a cap limit for each of them.” 

The different flagship programs are Civ in London, PC in Rome, PC in Shanghai, EDU in Belfast, and EDU in Florence. PC in Shanghai has been delayed for the semester, due to China being labeled as a level four on the U.S. Department of State’s Travel Advisory’s scale because of the recent coronavirus outbreak.

Another common concern was the safety of the visiting countries. “Every country on our list has been vetted and deemed safe, with consultation from our legal council and committees, as well as informed by rankings done by the travel advisory,” Stanley says.

“We continue to address these issues during our pre-departure orientation event,” Cleary says. This event is held shortly before abroad students leave to prepare them for their upcoming semesters. “There we cover everything students need to know immediately before leaving,” she explains.

In addition to wanting a wider outreach, Stanley says that the College would like PC students to engage in more diverse travel locations as well. “For the PC in Shanghai program, we were offering free housing to give people the extra incentive to go,” says Stanley.  Only a handful of people signed up. 

This is because, for the most part, PC students enroll in more well-known locations. “85 percent of people travel to Europe,” Stanley remarks. ”And then those people come back and tell the underclassmen all about how amazing those places were, and we see a repeating pattern of who goes where. It helps create this kind of stigma in favor of some countries over others,” Cleary adds.

The deans hope to increase membership in these less sought after programs by first increasing student awareness of their existence. However, other limitations including rigorous course schedules, incompatible program requirements, and extraneous costs for flights, housing, food, and other living expenses, must also be accounted for. 

 “We still recognize the limitations that keep people from going despite our efforts, whether it be they are unable to fit going abroad into their rigorous schedules, they cannot find a program that fits their studies, or they can’t afford it. We are always there to help a student find the right program for them, and assist in any way we can, especially in pointing them in the right direction for extra scholarship opportunities,” Stanley says.

The Center for Global Education’s walk-in hours are every Tuesday and Wednesday from 1-4 p.m. in Harkins 215. If you are unable to make these times, call 401.865.2114 to schedule an appointment. 

Abroad Scaries

by The Cowl Editor


Creative Non-Fiction


people holding out their American passports
Photo courtesy of unsplash.com

by Samantha Pellman ’20

When people tell you that abroad wasn’t real life, they’re not lying. It really wasn’t and there are too many examples I can provide you with to prove it. I’ll choose one, maybe the best one. I had been out of the country for approximately three weeks. Everything was still so new. I was just beginning to pick up how to navigate Paris, but it was time to make my first trip outside of France. I booked a train to Switzerland, where I’d meet my roommate who was in Florence. I was already anxious because there was a transfer I needed to make in a random part of Switzerland to a connecting train. But on top of that, my friend and I had the brilliant idea to book a day for paragliding. The website was almost sketchy; I mean, all we typed in Google was “Paragliding in Interlaken.” All we had to do was put our names and email and then select a time. There was no down payment or even price. I received an email saying that someone would pick us up a half hour before from our hotel to go to the site. Seemed a little weird, but we didn’t question it. The morning came and it was ten minutes past when they were supposed to pick us up. So I called the number in the email. Turns out they forgot about us and were turning around to get us. Things were getting weirder, but we still didn’t question it. Finally, a white van came and we reluctantly got inside. It was a Swiss man, but he was wearing the paragliding company shirt on which made us feel a little better. He drove us ten minutes away to what looked like a little camping site. At this point it was clear we wouldn’t be paying until after we landed, and they knew we survived. They told us to pick out boots and put our bags in a wooden chest. We looked at each other. My friend had her Gucci bag. So we were supposed to just leave our bags with our ID, credit cards, money, and passport information in this random chest. No, that didn’t seem right. But did we do it? Yup. Next we put on helmets and got into a bigger van with other kids who were coming. The instructors were there, all very Swiss and German, rough looking people. People you’d expect to do paragliding as a career. They made us pick out of a hat, the name who we’d be ‘flying’ with. They told us once we get up the mountain, the only way to come back down would be via air. So up we went, up the Swiss mountains. The view was beautiful but we were anxious and experienced motion sickness going up the curvy mountain. Once we got up, there was a path we had to climb up because the van could not get that high up. They handed us a backpack and we trekked up the slippery mountain while it started to snow and hail. At this point, we were having many regrets. But it was too late. To top it off, the weather was not cooperating and the wind was not in the perfect form it had to be in. In fact, we were told it was extremely dangerous and we had to wait it out. Here we are on top of this mountain, setting up our paraglide behind us while slipping and trying not to fall off the mountain. I was too distracted with staying on the ground and preserving my life that all of a sudden I looked up and my friend is in the air. Now I was freaking out. All of a sudden my instructor was telling me to “RUN” and the rest I think I blacked out. Long story short, I survived the paragliding part and made it on to land, a random field in Interlaken actually. And if you thought anything about that story was normal, then that’s a problem. We were not raised to do things like that, but after all it was abroad, and abroad really is a free for all.

London Calling: “Civ in London” an Alternative Abroad Experience

by The Cowl Editor


Campus


Students look at the variety of study abroad opportunities. Lilly Hunter ’22/THECOWL

by Max Waite ’21

News Staff

Starting next school year, sophomore students at Providence College will be given the opportunity to study abroad in London, England, as part of the Development of Western Civilization Program. 

The Providence College Center for Global Education has been working on this program for about a year, and it will provide a select group of 30-40 non-honors sophomore students an experience of a lifetime. Until now, sophomores did not have the opportunity to study abroad due to the fact that they had to take DWC 201 and 202. 

Grace Cleary, assistant dean of global education and the architect for the “Civ in London” program, explains, “The idea was to offer those subjects (DWC) abroad, taught by Providence College faculty members.” Freshmen who are interested in the “Civ in London” program must apply by Dec. 1. Once accepted into the program, those students will study in London for the spring of 2021.

The two faculty members accompanying the students will be Professor Margaret Manchester of the history department and Associate Professor Stephanie Boeninger of the English department. The pair will be teaching the “Battlefields and Home Fronts: The Making of War & Peace in Western Civilization” colloquium. The course examines four different military conflicts over the course of European history and how those conflicts relate to the development of western civilization. The professors will also independently teach “ENG372: Contemporary Drama in London” and “HIS360: Special Topics: From World War to Cold War: England, 1939 -1989.”

The remaining courses that students will be taking will be part of the IES academic center, located in Bloomsbury, London near the British Museum. Joseph Stanley, Dean of Global Education, explained that students can also take courses at two of the University of London campuses, City University and Queen Mary University. As part of the program, students will live in a nice residential unit located near King’s Cross station.

The itinerary for the students is still in the works, but the CGE Deans and faculty leaders are trying to incorporate visits to historical places and landmarks that correlate with the students’ studies. 

Stanley explains, “Even though this program is anchored in London, there are many interesting co-curricular activities for students to experience. I think it’ll be a really great program.”

 Students will potentially have the opportunity to visit the beaches of Normandy as part of their history class, or attend theater performances, and possibly visit Oxford, Stratford-Upon-Avon, and Hampton Court Palace. Also, students will spend a week in Athens, Greece, a place that seems to resonate with all parts of Western Civilization.

Peter Palumbo, dean of academic advising, feels that the difference between “Civ in London” and any other study abroad program is the cultural immersion that students will experience. “I know that the professors are very excited to tie in London and the United Kingdom experience into Western Civilization. I really feel like that aspect enriches the process, by visiting these sites and actually experiencing the culture.”

Cleary explained that all costs for these excursions will cost no more than a traditional semester abroad will cost. Cleary further adds, “We are hoping that this program will mimic other study abroad programs in terms of a wide variety of courses for students of many different majors. A lot of the core courses and proficiencies will be available.” 

Cleary and Stanley believe that the program will be incredibly competitive, but still encourage freshmen to apply before the Dec. 1 deadline. Students will be able to apply for scholarships as part of this program as well.

This past Monday night, Sept. 23, the Center of Global Education held a fair for students interested in this and other programs. The event went very well, as there was great student traffic flowing in and out of the fair. An additional information session was held at 4 p.m. on Oct. 3 in Ruane 105.

When asking the question of what made the College choose London to start off the program, Cleary and Stanley explained that the DWC abroad committee, which is made up of DWC faculty and members of the Center for Global Education, was looking at Granada, Spain, Athens, Greece, and London, England as potential locations for the program. Ultimately, the committee chose London because of its rich history that seems to resonate with the DWC colloquium.

In order to advertise this exciting program, students in the class of 2023 were notified of this opportunity during their orientation. Stanley adds, “It is crucial that a wide enough net is cast so that we have enough interested students in order for the program to run.”

On top of the London program, the Center for Global Education office is providing a week-long DWC colloquium over spring break of 2020 in Havana, Cuba in addition to a regular, semester-long class. Titled “Cuba Libre: Global Commodities in Caribbean and Latin American History,” students will be accompanied by professors Maia Bailey and Fr. David Orique. The application deadline for this program is Oct. 15.

Palumbo, along with the rest of the CGE, highly recommends that students study abroad, but must keep in close contact with their academic advisor. “Studying abroad is an outstanding educational experience. It is a high impact process that students really receive a lot from, contributing to both academic and personal development.”

Stanley and Cleary encourage students who are interested in any of the programs or have any questions to stop by the Center for Global Education office in Harkins 215. Walk-in hours are held Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 1:00-4:00 p.m.

Study Catholicism in Rome: PC Offers New Study Abroad Opportunity for All Majors

by The Cowl Editor


Campus


by Kelly Martella ’21

News Staff

Studying abroad is a highlight of the college experience for many, and Providence College has no shortage of global opportunities. Next spring, PC students will have a new option to choose from: studying Catholic theology and culture in Rome.

PC students study abroad through the Center for Global Education (CGE). The CGE offers programs in over 40 countries, allowing students to travel anywhere from South Africa to South Korea.

As listed on their website, the Center has four pedagogical goals:  curricular integration, geographic diversity of program locations, program diversity, and career integration and development. While students may be thousands of miles away from campus, study abroad is an extension of the education at PC. The CGE states that “study abroad provides alternative learning environments so students can benefit from new academic perspectives and intercultural experiences.” 

Italy is not a new destination for PC students looking to study abroad. Since 2013, a popular program has been “PC in Rome,” where students live and study in the Italian capital for a semester. 

Rome has long been a popular destination for visitors, attracting people from all over the world to experience Roman culture. 

One of the city’s main attractions is its history. The center of the ancient world, Rome has thousands of years of rich history, and sites such as the Roman Forum and the Colosseum are still preserved and available to explore. Vatican City to this day is the center of the Catholic Church, and home to the Pope.

It is also known for its art, not only in Vatican City but throughout the city of Rome itself. Rome also has some of the world’s most beautiful architecture, easily spotted throughout the entire city.  

PC’s program will expose students to all of the historical, theological, and artistic culture that Rome has to offer. Among other exciting opportunities, one of the highlights will be experiencing Holy Week and Easter at the Vatican. Faith is at the core of PC, and this program allows students to see it in a new perspective. They will be able to apply the values and experience firsthand the theological ideas taught on campus. 

The new program will be starting in the spring semester of 2020. It will be run by the theology department, and students will have the opportunity to earn credits toward a theology minor. More information will be coming soon. 

 

Study Catholicism in Rome: PC Offers New Study Abroad Opportunity for All Majors

by The Cowl Editor


Campus


by Kelly Martella ’21

News Staff

Studying abroad is a highlight of the college experience for many, and Providence College has no shortage of global opportunities. Next spring, PC students will have a new option to choose from: studying Catholic theology and culture in Rome.

PC students study abroad through the Center for Global Education (CGE). The CGE offers programs in over 40 countries, allowing students to travel anywhere from South Africa to South Korea.

As listed on their website, the Center has four pedagogical goals:  curricular integration, geographic diversity of program locations, program diversity, and career integration and development. While students may be thousands of miles away from campus, study abroad is an extension of the education at PC. The CGE states that “study abroad provides alternative learning environments so students can benefit from new academic perspectives and intercultural experiences.” 

Italy is not a new destination for PC students looking to study abroad. Since 2013, a popular program has been “PC in Rome,” where students live and study in the Italian capital for a semester. 

Rome has long been a popular destination for visitors, attracting people from all over the world to experience Roman culture. 

One of the city’s main attractions is its history. The center of the ancient world, Rome has thousands of years of rich history, and sites such as the Roman Forum and the Colosseum are still preserved and available to explore. Vatican City to this day is the center of the Catholic Church, and home to the Pope.

It is also known for its art, not only in Vatican City but throughout the city of Rome itself. Rome also has some of the world’s most beautiful architecture, easily spotted throughout the entire city.  

PC’s program will expose students to all of the historical, theological, and artistic culture that Rome has to offer. Among other exciting opportunities, one of the highlights will be experiencing Holy Week and Easter at the Vatican. Faith is at the core of PC, and this program allows students to see it in a new perspective. They will be able to apply the values and experience firsthand the theological ideas taught on campus. 

The new program will be starting in the spring semester of 2020. It will be run by the theology department, and students will have the opportunity to earn credits toward a theology minor. More information will be coming soon.